Editorial: Docked sinking ships-A A +A
Thursday, March 14, 2013
IN EARLY December 2012, a ship that was unloading its cargo in a wharf in Barangay Consuelo, San Francisco in the Camotes group of islands lost its balance and sank on its rear. Fortunately, the incident happened after the ship’s passengers had disembarked. But some crew members were forced to jump into the sea.
The ship, mv Mika Mari I, plies the Danao City to San Francisco route and is owned by Jomalia Shipping Lines. Aside from the paying passengers and sacks of cement, the ship was ferrying three six-wheeler and one six-wheeler vehicles at that time.
An investigation by the San Francisco police showed that the ship lost its balance after two of the four rolling cargoes were unloaded.
“Na-miscalculate nila, wa nila mabantayi,” town police chief Jonas Tahadlangit said of the ship’s crew when interviewed by Sun.Star Cebu.
The incident is worth mentioning after another docked vessel capsized off a private wharf in Barangay Looc in Mandaue City late night of March 11.
While only the rear of the ship in Camotes got submerged, mv Maria Angelica Grace of the Manila-based Rapal Shipping Lines totally sank. The vessel plies the Masbate province-Mandaue City route.
The ship’s captain blamed the heavy waves churned by a passing fast craft for the ship tilting and gradually sinking. But it shared one activity with mv Mika Mari I immediately before it sank: it was unloading heavy cargo—-a process that required care and skill.
Two accidents of almost similar nature involving sea vessels in just less than three months surely need a closer look by authorities, notably the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina). Not much damage was reported in the Camotes incident, but worries of an oil spill have already been raised in the Mandaue accident.
The two accidents involved ships plying secondary routes, which is symbolic of the kind of setup prevailing in this sector. Ships in these routes are hand-me-downs from major routes and are on their final run even if they still get a tag of being seaworthy. This is compounded by the seeming lack of attention given to the said routes by agencies concerned with maritime safety.
Hopefully, the two accidents should prod Marina to give the situation in secondary routes and minor ports a closer look.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 15, 2013.